112 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE end/'1 His great follower Ghuangtse followed up with brilliant satires against Confucian hypocrisy and futility. It was all so easy. For Confucianism, with its emphasis on ceremonialism and anxiety over the distinctions of mourning periods and the thickness of coffin panels, and with the intense desire of its followers to seek official positions and save the world, lent itself easily to caricature. The hatred of the Taoist against the Confucianist was the natural hatred of the roman- ticist against the classicist. Perhaps it was not hatred; it was merely an irresistible, mocking laughter. From this thorough-going scepticism it was but a step to romantic escape from the world and return to nature. Laotse left his post, according to legend, in his old age and disappeared outside the Hankukuan Pass. Chuangtse was offered a high post by the King of Ch'u, but replied by asking whether it was wise to be kept and fed like a pig and then be slaughtered and offered up on the sacrificial altar. From that moment on Taoism has always been associated with the recluse, the retirement to the mountains, the worship of the rural life, the cultivation of the spirit and the prolongation of man's life, and the banishment of all worldly cares and worries. And from this we derive the most characteristic charm of Chinese culture, the rural ideal of life, art and literature. The question may be asked: How much was Laotse respon- sible for this recluse ideal? The Taotehking, ascribed to him, is a lesser literary accomplishment than the books of Chuangtse, the Chinese Nietzsche, but it is a more concentrated essence of old-roguish wisdom. It is, to my mind, the most brilliantly wicked philosophy of self-protection in world literature. Besides teaching laissezfaire and passive resistance, it taught also the wisdom of stupidity, the strength of weakness, the advantage of lying low, and the importance of camouflage. One of its maxims was, "Never be the first of the world," for the simple reason that thus one could never be exposed to attack, and consequently never fall. It was, so far as I know, the only known theory of ignorance and stupidity as the best camouflage 1 English readers -will kindly excuse my gram-mar^ as it is fotind impossible to convey the forceful terseness of the original except by recourse to pidgin. Ajiy grammatical improvement -will spoil it.